No one wants to stare at a grinning image with yellow teeth. And not only does it make the image look unattractive, but it can also be embarrassing for the person in the photo. But remember that the teeth can also appear darker due to light and hue issues.
If you are the photographer taking portraits of people, you would not want to hand over a photo with such teeth showing. But you cannot ask your clients to go to the dentist and get their teeth bleached either.
The best way to make the image more approachable and please your clients is to remove the yellowing color and turn the teeth white. But how do you do that?
You can use Adobe Photoshop tools to whiten teeth as this application is highly useful. And there are multiple ways to use teeth whitening Photoshop tools, which I will discuss today.
How To Whiten Teeth In Photoshop?
One of the most interesting things about Photoshop software is that it offers so many tools. And the perk of having such a variety of editing tools is you can do the same job in different ways. And as for Photoshop whiten teeth editing, I have found three different ways to do it.
- Lighten Teeth Using Soft Light
- Lighten And Whiten Teeth Adjusting Hue/Saturation
- Lighten And Whiten Teeth Using Blend If
Photographs and subjects have differences, which is why they often require various corrections. And depending on the type of photo you have, you can try applying one of the following methods to whiten teeth. But first, it is best if you learn them all and consider which one works best for you.
Method 1: Lighten Teeth Using Soft Light
This is one of the simple and quick methods to lighten teeth in an image. You can use this method in a single-subject image or group photographs, especially when the smile is not the main subject and what requires highlighting most.
You should know that this method gives you less control over it, making it easy and quick. But it can give the image an overall satisfying improvement by making teeth white.
Step 1: Open The Image
First, open the image in your Photoshop photo editing application. You can use the File menu and select Open to find the image in your storage, or you can use the shortcut command by pressing CTRL+O to open desktop storage.
Select the photo you want to edit to whiten the teeth and upload it by clicking OK.
Step 2: Create A New Layer
Next, you need to create a new layer. But instead of trying any shortcut command, I suggest you make the selections directly from the menubar. It will also help you adjust everything you need to select in one go.
First, go to the menu bar and select Layer. From there, select New and Layer one by one. After that, a dialog box will appear with various menus and options. Go to Color first and change it to Gray, which is the fill color.
Right below that option, you will see Mode, which means blend mode. Change the blend mode to Soft Light from its option. Once you change the mode, a new option box that says Fill with Soft-Light-neutral color (50% gray) will appear below it. You only need to check the box on its left, so the tick mark appears.
The Overlay blending mode is an alternative to the Soft Light mode. However, this mode is more subtle and preferred by many.
You are pretty much done here but make sure to click OK to save the changes. You will not notice any visible change in the image at this point. But you will see the new gray layer on the Layer panel, which will come in handy in the following step.
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Step 3: Paint Over The Subject’s Teeth
Since this editing method is more suitable for images where the smile is not that of a big deal, they often appear small and out of focus. Zoom In to the image as much as possible so that it becomes easier to work on them.
Then go to the Toolbar, select the Brush Tool, and adjust the settings. After that, set the brush tool’s Opacity number to a low level. I did not select a fixed number here but increased it with the progress in the image. Doing this also prevents overdoing the task and keeps the whitening brightness to a minimum level.
You must select a brush with a soft edge, and the brush size should be suitable enough to work on teeth properly. The brush size should be chosen carefully, so you do not go over the lip areas.
You can adjust the brush size later if necessary as you work along the edges. You can also use the bracket key from the keyboard as a shortcut.
Then select white as the painting color and keep painting over the subject’s teeth. As you selected the Soft Light layer in the beginning, you will notice that the subject’s teeth color’s original pixels are turning lighter.
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Step 4: Fine-Tune It
You are done whitening the teeth in the image. If there is more than one subject in such an image, you should apply the same process to all of them. Once you are done editing, Zoom Out the image and see if they look natural.
If the teeth appear too white or not white enough, you can return to the Brush Tool option to increase or decrease the Opacity. You can also select black for the Brush Tool and paint over the too-bright color to darken it a bit. Then compare it with the original image to see the changes and save the work once you are satisfied with everything.
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Method 2: Lighten And Whiten Teeth Adjusting Hue/Saturation
The first method was for those who want a quick fix and do not necessarily need much control over the subject. But if you want to work with more control or the work requires more precision, you can try this method. Adjusting Saturation or Hue can help correct the lightness and make the color corrections for the teeth.
Step 1: Select Subject’s Teeth
First, open your desired photograph on the Photoshop application. Then select any tool that you prefer to select around the teeth area.
I would suggest choosing the Lasso Tool as it is more convenient.
Draw around the teeth area to make the selection with the tool. And stay as close as possible to the areas without moving too far toward the lips.
Step 2: Select Refine Edge Tool
You can apply the Refine Edge Tool and Feather the selection here to ensure the final result appears natural. Go to the menu bar and click Select to get the drop-down menu.
From there, select Modify and the Feather. But the problem with this option is that you cannot preview the result on the image. You can only guess until you move to the image after closing the option.
Step 3: Add An Adjustment Layer
You will find several options at the bottom part of the menu panel. You can either click on New Fill or Adjustment Layer to proceed with this step. You will find Hue and Saturation options right there.
As you have an active selection part of the image subject, it will automatically mask the Adjustment Layer. In this way, the options and selections will help edit only the selected parts. In this case, the adjustment will automatically help mask and edit the teeth area you selected.
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Step 4: Whiten The Teeth
Here, you must start by turning the Saturation tone to yellow. Go to the Properties option and change the setting from Master to Yellow.
Then drag the Saturation slider to your left side area to whiten the subject’s teeth.
Try not to drag it too far, turning the teeth blue instead of white. And if needed, you can adjust the Hue setting by dragging the slider left or right.
Step 5: Lighten The Teeth
Now that you have whitened the teeth, it might still not be light enough. If that’s how it appears, just click on the Lightness slider and increase the light by dragging it to the right.
That is pretty much what you needed to do. And if it is a group photo, repeat the steps for each subject until you get the final result.
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Method 3: Lighten And Whiten Teeth Using Blend If
It is comparatively easy to work on whitening teeth when the subject is at a distant shot, and the teeth’ color is not the top priority. But you cannot ignore that if it is a close-up shot where every detail and shadow matters. In such cases, you can use the Blend If the method to whiten teeth more effectively.
Step 1: Select The Teeth
The selection is vital here, and you have to be precise when using the selection tool. Instead of the Lasso Tool, you can use the Quick Selection Tool here.
This stage is challenging and requires patience if you want to bring perfection to your work. You can also open the Refine Selection workplace and paint the borders to make the process relatively easier.
Step 2: Make Hue/Saturation Adjustment
You can adjust the Hue and Saturation in the similar process explained in the previous method. And if you have a previously active selection, this option will mask it automatically.
If you want to change the Saturation level, just drag the slider to the left. You can adjust the Hue slider depending on how much lightness you require for the image.
Step 3: Add A Curve Adjustment Layer
A certain part of the mouth and teeth area has shadows, and you need to adjust them with the Curve adjustment layer. Add the layer, and the selected image area will be masked automatically once more. If it does not, you need to do it manually by clicking on the Mask from the Hue/Saturation layer.
Now drag the curve upward to brighten the areas. Do not worry if some parts appear too bright. You can fix them in the following step.
Step 4: Apply Blend If To Darker Areas
If you double-click on the Blending Properties, you will get the Blend If slider at the lower part of the dialog box.
Then move the slider to the left and press and hold the Alt key to split the slider into two parts. These two sliders will help you reduce the too bright areas from the bright parts and correct the darker areas.
Step 5: Adjust Color In Darker Areas
By now, some teeth areas might appear too dark, red, or magenta.
You need to adjust the Hue/Saturation mask to correct these by following the same steps you have done twice already. After that, apply Blend If in the same way to adjust the darker areas.
Step 6: Brighten The Reflection
You might still have some issues to resolve in the image. It is not unlikely to end up with some highlighted areas. Generally, they are a reflection of the editing you have done so far. You can fix them by adjusting the Brightness and Contrast options.
Then change the Blending mode and make sure to turn it to Soft Light. Drag the Blend If slider to the right.
Step 7: Fine-Tune It
That was pretty much what you needed to do but make sure you haven’t messed up the unwanted parts. But if you keep adjustment layers, you can always get back to them and make corrections.
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Why Whiten Teeth In Photoshop?
The teeth whitening Photoshop tools are not for whitening teeth only. It is not as if you only whiten the subject’s teeth and make everything look good. This type of work involves retouching the subject and making the image stand out, not just creating bright white teeth.
So what is the purpose of whitening teeth, and what does it actually do? Here is why editing portrait teeth and making them white are essential.
As I have stated from the beginning, a good-quality portrait or group photo can lose its beauty if the teeth do not look approachable. Besides, it kills the happy and lifelike vibe of the image, making it unsuitable for presenting the image anywhere. So when you use the Photoshop application and turn teeth white, it changes the subject’s overall appearance and makes it more likable.
Makes Images More Attractive
Portraits and smiling models’ photos are widely seen on magazine covers, billboards, advertisement publishing covers, etc. Now imagine the horror of seeing the person staring at you with yellow or dark and unattractive teeth through those covers and billboards. Photos like this are a big turn-off for any audience. So whitening teeth using Photoshop application helps make the images more attractive.
Let’s get back to cover model photos one more time. These images have different values both to the audiences and the publishers. So if the model’s smiling look contains dark, stained, or yellowish teeth, the images lose their value. But a well-presented photo with no unattractive teeth color can increase the image’s value.
If you are a photographer, you must deal with portraits, birthday or wedding photos all the time. And when it comes to delivering the photographs to the clients, you will want to make sure they do not contain anything that may disappoint them. And one of the many editing tasks involved in this process is whitening teeth.
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What Not To Do When Whitening Teeth In Photoshop
Handling Photoshop tools is not a piece of cake, making novice editors misuse its great sides or make mistakes. Besides, sometimes, what we think will look good in a photo does not turn out as expected in the final result. So as much as you love to correct image flaws to give them perfection, there are a few things you must avoid.
Don’t Overdo It
No one has perfectly white teeth unless we are talking about Borzah Yankey, the TikTok guy whose teeth seem brighter than many of our future. But does he really have those bright white teeth? Who knows? But you certainly do not want that on the portraits you edit with Photoshop.
Too white teeth never look natural, and you need to remember that when editing the images. Besides, when the subject’s teeth appear too white, it makes the appearance of the overall image worse than the dark or yellow teeth version.
The solution to this problem is handling the Opacity tool correctly. If you do it right, it will look like the subject’s teeth are naturally white, and it does not involve Photoshop whiten teeth tools.
Maintain Whitening Consistency In Group Photos
Another thing you need to keep in mind when editing photos to whiten teeth is the number of subjects showing teeth. If it is a group photo with several people showing teeth, you need to maintain consistency.
Never make one person’s teeth too white compared to others. When you create an inconsistency when whitening teeth using Photoshop, some parts of the image appear different than others.
Moreover, the entire point of “keeping it natural” will be missing once you finish the job. That is why it is essential to maintain consistency and keep it realistic.
Alternatives For Whitening Teeth In Photos
Even though Photoshop is one of the best and most widely used software for editing images, many people still go for alternatives to find their comfortable working areas. Besides, not everyone excels in the same editing software, and it also depends on individual choices. So are there good and high-quality alternatives to the Photoshop application to whiten teeth?
Of course, there are! Though Photoshop software is more used by professional graphic designers and photo editors, many of them still choose and recommend using various alternatives.
Like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom is getting more and more popular among users. This tool also offers a wide variety of useful tools that can help whiten teeth. Other than Lightroom, you can use Skyline’s Luminaire, which is another universally used photo editing software. You can also go for more accessible applications which you can download on your smartphone and edit images easily. Pixlr, Snapseed, PhotoDirector, GIMP, etc., are some of the examples of mobile applications to edit images and whiten teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Photoshop whiten teeth editings seem too hard to do? Well, they are not if you know bits and pieces of the application. Also, it is best not to try all the methods at once because you may end up disliking the task.
So take one step at a time, just like the tutorials. Remember that the first tries are never perfect. But you can boost the client’s confidence and your career by perfecting the teeth whitening methods in Photoshop.